04 Apr 2012

4 Key Considerations For Site Trust Symbol Integration

It is often advertised that adding trust symbols to your site will improve conversions dramatically. This is a quick guide for identifying the opportunities for your site as well as what are the important things that you should consider when critically reviewing the integration of trust symbols on your site.

Often times, when people think of trust symbols, they have a narrow view that they are just badges but I think of trust symbols in a broader sense –  any indicator of trust and authority or any visual social proof that can push someone to buy.

Here are some of the really common trust symbols, you probably have a bunch on your site already:

  • industry accolades
  • online security services of which you are a part (online privacy, SSL)
  • speaking engagements that reflect thought leadership
  • organizations of which you are part of
  • brand logos of large companies you’ve worked with
  • client testimonials
  • certification badges
  • press mentions

The exact mix of these trust symbols for any site will vary. What from this list may be on your site but not featured?


Tweak your site to better feature existing trust asset:

The first step to making your site look more trusted is to identify all the trust symbols on your site and critique current placement and see if it can be improved. Also, try to keep in mind, what organizations you are a member of and other items that can be featured on the site that currently may not be. Many sites have trust symbols featured on the site but more often than not, they are not well integrated into the homepage and template in the most effective way.

Here some things to consider when taking your inventory:

  • Are you part of any business organizations whom you do not feature on your site, such as the Better Business Bureau?
  • Do you have your testimonials scattered across your site or are they prominently featured on the pages that get the most traffic?
  • Have you been featured in any industry publications and if so, are these buried on your site or featured prominently on your pages that get the most traffic?
  • In areas in which you request users to enter personal information, do you state that you will never share visitor information?
  • Is information like ‘over 1 million items sold’ featured prominently ?

Meaningfully analyze your template above the fold area:

So many sites under utilize the golden above the fold area of their website. Even more sites don’t feature trust symbols above the fold in a compelling way. Revisit your site and see if you can see your trust symbols above the fold and see if their placement above the fold is somewhere way off to the side where visitors are likely to miss them.

Trust symbols often tend to be hidden away somewhere near the footer. Consider adding your trust symbols higher in the sidebar or in the masthead area of your site. Some websites also feature newsletter forms in the sidebar template, make sure to indicate that your will protect visitor privacy on these.


Trust symbols on your forms and is it worth paying for them?

I’ve alluded to this already, guaranteeing visitor privacy is paramount. A common question about increasing trust on forms is if it is worth paying for a privacy seal or SSL badge to add to your site? Some companies offering this service promise, “to increase search engine click-through rates by 7.7%”. That’s pretty awesome but will that be the case for your site? I would say that it comes down to two things: the nature of your business and testing. If you’re a lead gen site, you may be okay with a privacy guarantee but if you’re an eCommerce site selling big ticket items, you may benefit  more. Ultimately, the question of if it is worth paying for trust comes down to testing. Including it as part of a multivariate test, will allow you to empirically know if it the cost of adding a paid trust symbol is moving the needle for conversions or not.


The value of trust symbols comes down to testing:

General integration or better integration of trust symbols has been heuristically said to improve improve conversions but that does not mean that there will be a measurable difference by making changes to your individual site – your site is unique, your visitors are unique, your business is unique. The only way to truly verify if any of the previously mentioned changes are making a difference for your site empirically is by performing a multivariate test.